While most of us know that antibiotics do not work for viral infection, it’s not uncommon to walk away from the doctor’s office annoyed that an antibiotic wasn’t prescribed. This is especially true for parents managing a sick child. And, while antibiotics have been an important tool in medicine to kill pathogenic bacteria and treat infection, general medicine sometimes unnecessarily prescribes them to the detriment of the patient’s microbiota.
Dr. Karen Scott, University of Aberdeen (UK) recently published an article on how antibiotics “wipe out” your gut bacteria, and she played out some very familiar scenarios we often face when seeking treatment for illness:
- Your doctor tells you that antibiotics are ineffective and sends you home to rest and treat symptoms of pain, fever or congestion via other over-the-counter or holistic means.
- Your doctor succumbs to pressure and prescribes an unnecessary and ineffective course of antibiotics. (Fortunately, most doctors now stand firm against such practice)
- Your doctor sends you away with a prescription just in case your symptoms don’t resolve themselves within a determined timeframe. (This is a common approach that reduces unnecessary antibiotic use)
- Or, your doctor determines that even if the original illness was cause by a virus, there is now a secondary bacterial infection that requires a course of antibiotics. (Keep in mind, without a lab test the doctor cannot be sure which bacterium is causing the illness and, therefore, can’t be sure that the broad spectrum antibiotic likely prescribed will be effective)
Most doctors will tell you to battle out the viral illness, without antibiotic, which I agree is wise, but there are some instances when an antibiotic is often mis-prescribed, even leading to secondary bacterial infection.
Why Is this? Well, it is only within the last 20 years or so that most scientists truly understand how the good microbes in our intestinal tracts function and the consequences of destroying them.
We now know that when antibiotics kill gut bacteria, they don’t just wipe out one type, but do so indiscriminately. We now know that antibiotics reduce diversity and deplete the microbiota’s ability to support the immune system’s natural capability to fight the virus. We now know the benefits of taking a probiotic to counteract the havoc the antibiotic wreaks on the gut. We also now understand the benefit of using good microbes as therapeutic agents – to treat disease, or to repopulate damaged intestinal systems. In fact, this is where the next generation of probiotics - known as metabiotics – is focused.
Clinical studies show that del-IMMUNE V®, the leading metabiotic on the market, is found to resist various influenza viruses in children with asthma. It induces interferons (IFNs), alpha and beta, which are viral and bacterial fighters, and provides support against viral antigens presented by influenza, parainfluenza, rhinovirus and adenovirus. It’s an effective treatment for viral disease, and this is evident through both research and in our countless positive customer testimonials. Additionally, del-IMMUNE V supports growth of healthy bacteria and increases the quantity of Bifidobacteria and Lactobacillus which are known for their immunomodulatory properties and effectiveness in preventing and treating various infections.
We also now know that immune and gut health go hand-in-hand (70-80 percent of your immune system is housed in your gut!), and it’s important to protect both.
So, next time you are battling a viral illness, take the right course of action - take del-IMMUNE V. Of course, if you must take an antibiotic for bacterial infection, be sure to replace the good bacteria with a probiotic. A daily probiotic such as delPRO™ will replenish the flora in your gut!